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Wednesday Book Review: “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” “Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill” and… “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America”

May 25th, 2011

I wanted to like Jennifer Egan’s “A Visit From the Goon Squad.” I really did. But it had too many characters, too many switch-ups, too much name dropping (hip bands, hip clubs, hip people at hip restaurants) and… I just wasn’t into it. I realize that it won the Pulitzer. And the National Book Critics Circle Award. Just not for me. The End.

Robert Whitaker is a genius, and I appreciate the work he is doing to expose all of messed-up stuff that the mentally ill have to face and deal with in our country. It’s too painful for me to write about this topic, especially because today is my late father’s birthday. (I love you, Dad. So very much. Happy birthday.) But I really recommend that everyone read the information that Whitaker has painstakingly gathered. Such a wake-up call.



ps don’t forget… the door to hell is in your living room. (under the carpet.)


May 20th, 2011

We have mourning doves up on our roof — they look just like this. No that’s not my picture, you know all I do is write, I don’t take pix, too. Unlike some of you overachievers out there. hahaha. They’re just chilling. They seem to like it here.

I’m fighting off bronchitis, my lungs are a mess. Fever (never a good sign) and the general feeling that if I just break on through (to the other side, break on through, break, break) (key word: break) that this time, I will not get bronchial pneumonia. I’m fine, see! Fine! (Then I collapse. Drama queen.)

Pam: “Would you like some aspirin? You seem kind of fussy…”
Michael: “No, I don’t want any aspirin! Aspirin’s not gonna do a dang thing, Pam. Of course I’m fussy! I’m sitting here with a bloody stump of a foot!”

I haven’t slept much in a week — for two nights I barely slept at all.

I, like many of you, get stupid as hell and confused when I don’t sleep. Also not safe behind the wheel of a car, fyi.

Last night, I knew I was going to sleep okay. (powerofpositivethinking.) Willed myself to. Curled up in a ball, made little kitten noises, and when I woke up, the sun was up (sleep! i love you, my friend sleep) and I could hear the mourning doves, right outside my window.


ps yes we’ve been watching American Idol. This is all you need, though.

updated on Saturday: ppss WAIT the RAPTURE is today? Thank God for my father-in-law and Bossy, otherwise I would never have known. Eh, I’m not sweating anything now, especially not this frickin’ fever. Wait, doesn’t a fever come right before the Rapture? I think it does.

What did that cabbie in New York say to me, that one time? “When the end of the world comes, there won’t be any more worrying about the trillion dollar debt, or AIDS, or the drugs, and you, princess, you will never have to work again.” I was all, “Good by me.” Then he gave me one of the best smiles I’ve ever seen in my life, and off he went.

misc. health crap or Why I Hate Middle-Age, you suck, 46.

February 17th, 2011

* that Watson IBM thing on Jeopardy was stupid. I am such a die-hard Jeopardy fan, and you know I belong to the Ken and Brad fan club. So it sorta headached me, is what I’m saying. Gimme a real game, not an avatar.

* Steve is at work; Wacky Boy and i are home with colds (sore throats, coughs, fatigue, and perhaps just a general sense of ennui)

* They bring Brenda back to GH, I’m over the moon cuz she’s always been one of my favorite characters, and what? they’re going to kill her off now, instead of having her marry Sonny? Cussin’ writers. Do it right, writers, i mean it.

* I have tendonitis from my library work (and facebook, and too much mousing, and from typing too fast. i’m like, crazy-fast typist). It goes up my right arm, stopping for a special pocket of pain in the elbow (i think it’s cussin’ bursitis or something, too? I smacked my funny bone — NOT FUNNY — a month ago and it is still swollen and tender), then travels all the way up my shoulder, down into where my shoulder bone’s attached to my/back bone, then up the right side of my neck, up and over my ear, into my jaw (thank you, TMJ, you suck, too) and into my head.

What does this all mean? I hurt all the cussin’ time. and it hurts to type. and you know i love to type (see: work stuff — required by law; e-mails; FB; my book; various writing projects and yes, blog). it pains me to type. it pains me to say that. it pains me to mouse mouse blip all day, too, at work. (checking in/checking out.) it pains me to carry around large boxes/armfuls of books, dishes, laundry, and i can’t grip sometimes with my right hand. it also hurts to just write longhand (see: journal, pen, propped up with pillows, ow).

i write, therefore i am i write, therefore i am i write, therefore i am i write, therefore i am i write, therefore i am

honestly, I can’t blame this on middle age. I’ve been dealing with some of this crap (thyroid, girl problems) since i was a kid. and yes, i know i need to go in for physical therapy, but i am scared. I just worked up the nerve last week finally to go in and get my bloodwork done (again) for thyroid. I LOVE my (now-former) doctor, she was amazing. she also had this great practice with four or five other doctors. I saw most of them, in the few years I’ve been going to her, and they’re all as great as she is.

However. They’re in north Portland, and we now live on West Side. Fancy West Side. And I haven’t been willing to start with someone new. I love my doctor so much. She has two kids my kids’ age, and she’s from the neighborhood, and she can handle anything (see: thyroid, see: wacky heart, see: follow-up on surgery, see: bronchial pneumonia, see: flu shots; see: general bitchiness). This doctor would never randomly cut into me on a Monday morning, is what I’m saying.

I found a new doctor. They’re nice. They took my blood and only bruised me up a little. My one “good” vein collapsed years ago. My “second-best” vein is nearing collapse. To cheer me up, the phlebotomist told me awhile back, We can just take it from behind your knee if that one collapses.

Because that’s just what sounds good — a needle coming in at ya from behind the knee.

So when i am being a big baby and refusing PT? Too. Many. Issues.



QOTD: James Howell; Reading This Week: “Henry Climbs a Mountain” & “Henry Hikes to Fitchburg,” by D.B. Johnson; “Oracles of Delphi Keep” by Victoria Laurie

January 3rd, 2010

“Words are the soul’s ambassadors, who go / Abroad upon her errands to and fro.” — James Howell, writer (c. 1594-1666)

still not feeling well. i would say “not 100 percent,” but i’m really feeling more like… 30 percent. Forty-five percent if it’s one of those fake-outs where I start thinking, Oh I’m getting better see? See????

Now on third round of antibiotics for kidney infection and other ailments. (Fourth round if you count what they added to the IV in the hospital.) Getting concerned now (as I always do with bronchitis and bronchial pneumonia, too), what if this time they don’t work?

They will work. Faith, prayers, candles, love and this hot cup of chamomile tea that my husband just brought me. The kids and Steve are packing — we’ve been sorting and planning for the move. Hoping to get the house on the market mid-February. It’s a lovely house, I know that another family, solo dweller or couple will be happy here. It will be nice to have a little more space. I’m going to go read for awhile now — still loving Julia Child’s memoir, “My Life in France.” Such a delight, that book.

Here are a few books (kids’ stuff) that I enjoyed as well, but won’t have a chance to review. (The dog books are about Thoreau, just illustrated versions of his stories. Really clever.) Bon appetit!

— wm

Reading this week:

i’m not doing a year-end retrospective

December 31st, 2009

because i don’t wanna, that’s why. start with January 2009 and read away, if you feel so inclined. I am now fighting 2 (two!) infections with 2 (two!) kinds of antibiotics because the little dose they slipped into my IV was not enough and the first round i took last weekend was not enough either. Drama queen over here, as always.

Ouchy Owie Wacky Mommy.

i will tell you that i’m excited that 2010 will be Year of the Tiger because I like tigers. Meow. Here, kitty, kitty. And that this year, finally, oh for the love of God will they ever just commit and do it, that we move to the west side. (The UrbanMamas — or as I prefer to call them, The Pioneers Who Saved the Ghetto — in unison, Oh thank God I hate that bitch.) (Honestly. Cannot believe that someone said “circle jerk” and they never pulled the comment. You kiss your babies with that mouth? hahahahaha.)

We’ll be closer to Steve’s work, we’ll get out of the asthma-fest that is North Portland and hell yeah, we won’t have to deal with the school b.s. anymore. Hell. Yes.

This will be the first time in 10 years that we have moved. That’s a lot of Legos, i’m just saying. Also, due to the fact that all four of us have too many hobbies (writing, music, gardening, art, for starters), we have a lot of junk.

So wish us luck on the whole packing thing. First up? The classroom guinea pig. We’re sending her a-packin’ next week, back to school.

thank you and good night. hope you have a grand, glorious, peaceful and healthy new year.

— wm

and now, in more exciting robotic news…

December 22nd, 2009

I am up and moving around a lot better than I was a few days ago. Last night, for instance, I walked (with my bodyguard Steve) to the acupuncturist’s office. Then I walked home. Last night I slept on my side for awhile; then I switched to my other side. The things you take for granted in day to day life. This morning, though, I woke up at 5:30 with a headache biting behind my eyes, so i thought i might as well stretch, eat breakfast, take more advil and write.

so here i am, baby. (more…)

did i mention that i’m alive?

December 18th, 2009

i am. surgery was Wednesday. i’m battered and bruised but alive and happy to be home.

thanks for the concern, e-mails, calls… y’all are very sweet. i appreciate it.

goodbye, uterus, you were worthless. “Spongy uterus,” polyps and fibroids were “official” diagnosis.

kinda funny that word of the day was “pother,” ie:



noun: 1. A commotion or fuss. 2. Mental turmoil. 3. A smothering cloud of dust or smoke.
verb tr.: To confuse or worry someone.
verb intr.: To worry or fuss.

Of unknown origin.

Pink Glove Dance — for Breast Cancer Awareness

December 6th, 2009

(Thanks, Shannon and St. V’s.)

yeah. that kind of day, again.

November 16th, 2009

what is it with Mondays around here?

1) i’m home sick from work today and tomorrow, trying not to slip over into bronchitis, cuz The Thing I’ve had for a month has moved into my lungs

2) i’m wheezing

3) i heard from the doc’s office — they found “abnormal endometrial cells” on my cervix. Isn’t the first time for this, but hopefully if I get all better by next month and can have surgery, it will be the last time for this kind of call.

4) if i’m sick, no surgery; if i have no surgery, i’m sick (exhaustion, anemia, cancer worries)

5) doesn’t this all just suck?

6) there has been a big windstorm all day and it’s kinda freaking me out, what with all the crashing and blowing

7) i didn’t get one of the grants i applied for for my library. jury is still out on other two grants.

8) on a bright note — steve and the kids are my favorite thing in life. they are sweet, funny, and know when to worry and when to breathe. (unlike me.) their love and enthusiasm keeps me going every day.

9) i’m really happy that my sis and the Red-Headed Guy are getting married next month. And guess what? My job is to provide the cupcakes for the wedding. With that in mind, they bought me my very own Cupcake Carrier. Do we need the Tree Stand, do you think? Or just arrange on platters? Oh, frosting. Oh, love. Oh, a Christmas wedding, so cool. Magic, magic, magic.

10) i’m also losing weight, cuz i’m worried all the time and don’t want to eat. that’s something. argggggggggggggghhhh. OK. Make it positive, girl. I love the Wii-Fit and the Wii-Fit Plus they are the best, funnest work-out ever. The end.

11) c’mon get happy.



And, because sometimes it’s not:

And, because this one is always true:

I always thought Danny was highly underrated as a bass player, didn’t you?

edited at 7:30 p.m. to say:

* one doctor wants me to come in so they can listen to me wheeze; other doc is on vacation for a week. the cells are probably… nothing. and if they are something? will deal.

* fixed vegetarian meatloaf, polenta and broc, an old favorite, for dinner. kids were not amused.

* climbing back in bed. have a good night, y’all.

misc.: notes on a bad day

November 9th, 2009

“Don’t surrender your loneliness / So quickly. / Let it cut more deeply. / Let it ferment and season you / As few human / Or even divine ingredients can.”
— Hafez, poet (1315-1390)

* can’t talk about some things because. you know. let’s not get dooced.

* can’t write about other things because. you know. i have a 7-year-old, a 10-year-old and a husband who like their privacy. and would appreciate it if i told their side of things, sometimes.

* i can’t. they can just take comfort in knowing that i try, every day, to NOT talk about them — with co-workers, with friends, with family, with Internets. Years of therapy? I’m paying for my own, can’t afford anyone else’s.

* met with my surgeon/doc today for “pre-op” appointment. For those of you not “in the know,” that means “pre-operation” appointment that you go to before they slice into you, where you discuss pain meds; the need to avoid tylenol and aspirin for two weeks beforehand; how you “probably” won’t have to stay the night; how much better you’ll feel, after; how you’re not supposed to eat anything 12 hours prior to surgery. (This means I’m supposed to stay up til 2 a.m. — doc’s words — to have “a little something,” since the surgery isn’t skedded til 2 in the afternoon.)

* i can barely stay awake past 7:30 p.m. This should be interesting.

* also, if you’re me at least, and i know i am, you will discuss how “great” it is that your blood pressure is only 90/60. Haha! I work out! I take beta-blockers! I am a calm, stress-less person! Pop quiz: which of those statements is “fact”? Give up…????

* Two are fact; one is fiction.

* Now can you get it?

* I am probably one of the most tense, stressed-out people you could ever meet. True. That. True, that. True, that, to infinity and beyond. I am not proud of this, i am ashamed of it. I do not wear it on my sleeve like a badge of courage. It’s the reason why I try to eat right, get some kind of exercise every day, write in my journal, have a job i love, spend time with my family and friends who are all really nice, cool people. I don’t have an addiction to deal with, domestic abuse, a terminal illness. I have lost too many people, but honestly, haven’t we all? We all have had our losses.

* So when the medical assistant took my blood pressure, which i was convinced was going to be SKYROCKETING because i had HORRIBLE DAY — well. SKYROCKETING for me would mean 120/80 or something. Maybe 125/85 if I was just furious or something. I have this super-low blood pressure. Which is why i’m dizzy all the time. Also I take a beta-blocker, because I have funky heart condition. Because the thyroid issues and the girly issues weren’t enough, I suppose.

* Imagine my surprise when it was 88/58. The M.A. was a little worried. Said that would explain why I feel faint sometimes. “This, right here? This is the most pissed-off you are ever going to see me!” i told her. “OK, tell me about your day, then we’ll take it again.” hahahaha. I like that girl, she’s funny.

* “And THEN, and THEN, and SURGERY, and etc….” That’s how we got my BP up to 90/60, folks. It is good to have low blood pressure. It is not good to be close to passing out. i remember after giving birth to my baby girl, my BP went TUMBLING DOWN THE STAIRCASE and hit AN ALL-TIME LOW of 70 or 75 or something, over 47.

FORSOMEONEELSEGETAGURNEY and Steve kept flashing my pregnancy journal at them, w/ all the doc visit info, and the various BPs from throughout the months (we brought it because it was where we were scribbling, when we were timing contractions, i think? who knows.) And poor Steve kept gesturing, Here, here, and here, LOOK! SHE JUST HAS REALLY LOW BLOOD PRESSURE, SHE’S NOT DYING.

* Did I have a point with this post? the bullets? the ranting?

* Yes.

* Doc says tylenol = bad, bad, bad; morphine = good, good, good. Well. That has always been my motto, so I’m glad the Medical Community is finally catching up. Seriously — the “talk-talk” going around now is that we all, right here, right now, have ENOUGH TYLENOL IN OUR SYSTEMS TO LAST US A LIFETIME. Can i make that any CAPPIER for you? All kinds of people (who shouldn’t be, who are otherwise healthy) are showing up with liver disease and failure, cuz of TOO MUCH TYLENOL.

* interesting.

* But it’s okay, while i’m healing up, if i need morphine. only my BP will probably drop even lower, which could be, y’know. Problematic.

* think they’d let me bring one of those handy little machines home with me, just in case?



ps i always feel the need to give this disclaimer: i am no medical professional, go find yourself one if you need one.

pss — “Now, I’m not a pharmacist…” — comedian Kathy Griffin

ppss just remember: tylenol = bad; morphine = good

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